Budget Express is a simple, easy-to-use tool that is designed to help you keep track of your expenses.
To get started, download and install the program. After starting the software, click on Create a new budget to begin. A window will pop up asking you to assign a name to your budget. The set-up wizard will then guide you through the rest of the process, which involves seven steps. The initial budget can be seen as your “base” budget, which includes your income, fixed expenses and some variable expenses. This budget is meant to be adjusted over time.
In the first step of the set-up wizard, the program provides a brief overview of its capabilities. The set-up wizard then asks you to answer a few questions that will determine your personal profile. After Budget Express generates a personal profile, you can create your accounts, including bank and credit card accounts. Alternatively, you may skip this step and manually create accounts at a later time. All your sources of revenue, such as salary and investment income, are inputted in step four. Step five asks for fixed, or recurring, spending such as rent, utilities and Internet and phone bills. In step six, the program asks you to input variable expenses. By its nature, these expenses will have to be estimated, but you can adjust them down the road. In step seven, the balance of your starting account is indicated; here it’s best to use your current checking account balance. The program also supports importing your information from QFX and QIF files, instead of manual entry.
After creating a budget, the calendar provides a useful visual of upcoming income and expenses. Click on Summary at the top of the program to pull up a categorized pie chart of income and expenses. Savings and credit card account balances are also displayed on this page. Comprehensive breakdowns of each section are also shown.
The Details section provides cash inflows and outflows as well as the ending balance for each category on a daily basis. At the top of the page, users can toggle between periods, which can be a day, month or year.
Any modifications to the budget can be done on the calendar page. Each main category is listed on the left-hand side of the calendar page. Click on the main category to access subcategories. To modify income or expenses in any of the subcategories, simply click on the name and a window pops up allowing you to either modify or delete the existing entry.
System Requirements: PC with at least 200 MHz processor, Windows 98 or newer, 256 MB of RAM
Price: Approximately $28.91; free 14-day trial
KCM Analytics was created by a group of financial academics and professionals. The website offers valuation services for stocks and exchange-traded fundsbased on a quantitative process using common data points such as required rate of return, financial fundamentals and estimated growth rates.
The website offers educational elements, describing several commonly used valuation models, including dividend-based, sales-based, earnings-based and cash flow–based models. In addition, KCM Analytics also provides calculation examples for the valuation models.
To begin, users must first register. The website offers a free one-week pro membership. To search for stocks, click on the US Valuation tab at the top of the page after signing in. You can enter the ticker or company name at the bottom of the screen. The website provides seven separate valuation models for equities: models based on dividend, sales, earnings, book value and cash flow, as well as the KCM fair value estimate (a proprietary quantitative method) and the Street estimates. For each valuation model, the website provides low, high and fair value estimates along with current error and standard deviation, among other calculated figures. In addition, it provides a rating ranging from strong sell to strong buy.
Valuations for U.S. sectors are presented as well. The website shows the overall percentage mispricing as well as the mean percentage overvalued and undervalued for each sector. The percent of all stocks in the sector undervalued and overvalued are offered as well. The same valuation metrics are also supplied for U.S. equity styles, such as small-cap blend and large-cap growth.
In addition to providing estimates for stocks, KCM Analytics also provides fair value estimates for ETFs based on the same seven valuation models. The website also presents a list of global ETFs.
One of the more interesting features of KCM Analytics is the US Mispriced list. The website provides the most overvalued and undervalued U.S. stocks based on its valuation models. Users can also find the most overvalued and undervalued stocks for small-cap, large-cap, growth and value stocks.
Finally, KCM Analytics shows the stocks that have been recently upgraded or downgraded. On any given date, there are a number of stocks that make the list. The website also shows a list of stocks with the largest positive and negative revisions to their fair value estimate.
System Requirements: Internet connection and Web browser; educational email address
Price: $400 for six months; free one-week trial
With the unrelenting expansion of the Internet, it seems that there are an endless number of websites that most people use frequently. Simply for financial accounts, we may have a checking account and multiple brokerage and credit card accounts, each with a corresponding website. In addition, certain investors also use portfolio management and personal finance websites. Keeping track of logins and passwords for each site can be a pain. The creators of RoboForm had this issue in mind when they designed their password management software that keeps your logins and passwords all in one place.
During the installation process, you can create a master password that protects all your login and password information stored on the computer or device. This is especially important if the computer is used by people other than yourself.
To begin using the program, simply navigate to a website as you normally would after installing the program. Log in to the website as usual. An auto-save dialog box will pop up on your browser and offer to save your login information. Select save and the login and password are saved. When returning to the site, the program will automatically populate the login and password if you tell it to do so. To activate the automatic function, click on Logins from the RoboForm toolbar, which will be at the bottom of your Web browser. Here, a list of your saved logins will be presented. Select the appropriate saved login and password and the program will fill in the login form.
In addition to saving logins and passwords, RoboForm can also save and fill in personal information. Click on Setup Form in the browser, go through the various tabs and enter your information to set up your identity. After completing the tabs, click on the Save button in the right-hand corner. When this information is saved, RoboForm can fill out any online registration or store check-out form if you click on the name you used when creating your identity.
Finally, RoboForm can be used to generate random passwords of any length. Randomly generated passwords are harder to guess, and using them is easy since RoboForm stores them. Click on Generate at the top of the toolbar to generate a password. In the Advanced Settings area of the program, users can modify the character settings and length for the randomly generated password. To use a randomly generated password for a website and save it, simply click on Generate New and then select Fill. The website will automatically fill in and save the new password.
System Requirements: Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari) or mobile device
Siber Systems, Inc.
Exchange-traded fundshave become increasingly popular due to their diversification benefits and low costs. In conjunction, more useful sites focused on exchange-traded funds are being established each year. ETFDailyNews.com is meant to provide investors with a one-stop shop for investment resources on exchange-traded funds. There are several areas of the website that individual investors should find useful.
To search for a specific exchange-traded fund, type its ticker in the search at the top of the page. The website displays an overview of the ETF, including latest price, issuer, asset class and size, and operating expense. Click on Charts to load five charts—simple line, intraday, candlestick, directional and HLC—for the ETF. The Fundamentals tab provides data such as dividend, beta and 200-day moving average, while the Technicals tab presents data such as MACD (moving average convergence/divergence), relative strength, upper and lower Bollinger bands and stochastic oscillator.
The ETF screener offers a universe of over 1,300 ETFs, which covers the majority of available exchange-traded funds. The screener is simple and only offers select data points, but does allow users to select between ETFs and ETNs (exchange-traded notes).
In addition to ETF data and a screener, the website offers a listing of the latest released ETFs along with press releases for their announcements. In addition, the website also shows the most recently proposed ETFs.
The Basics section provides a slew of educational information and should be the first area of the website new ETF investors visit. The links at the top of the page provide articles that cover basics such as the benefits of investing in ETFs and how ETFs work. More advanced topics such as asset allocation, tax efficiency and exchange-traded fund options are also detailed. The bottom of the page includes a frequently-asked-questions section.
Each of these topic links in the Basics area takes you to the website’s sister page, ETFzone.com.
ETFzone.com provides a comparison tool that is particularly useful, presenting users with the ability to compare up to five ETFs side-by-side. The comparison chart goes beyond the ubiquitous fundamental ratios, such as price-earnings ratio and beta, and also presents a comparison of performance over several times frames, as well as a performance chart containing each of the selected ETFs. ETFzone.com also provides an extensive education section that can help investors get acquainted with the advantages and disadvantages of using ETFs in a portfolio.
System Requirements: Internet browser and Internet connection
FXCM Inc., a forex broker, announced the addition of the NinjaTrader trading platform to its suite of offerings. NinjaTrader is known for its high performance analytic and trade execution tools meant to maximize a trader’s efficiency in fast-moving markets. Traders can beta test FXCM’s integration with NinjaTrader for forex trading. NinjaTrader automated trading features include Strategy Wizard, a point-and-click strategy development tool; Strategy Analyzer, which allows users to run historical tests and analyze automated strategy performance; Chart Trader, which executes trades directly in charts; and Advanced Trade Management, which includes automated stop-loss and profit target order submission capabilities.
The program is free with an FXCM account.
The Wall Street Journalannounced the launch of a new universal app for both iPad and iPhone. Previously, the Journal offered two separate apps, one for each device. The universal app now replaces these as a single download and consistent experience across both devices. The WSJ’s universal app features several enhancements, including more frequent updates and the same content offering across iPad and iPhone; faster download speed for daily editions; and an enriched user experience. In addition, the app now includes the WSJ Deutschland international edition as well as The Wall Street Journal Asia and Europe.
The app is free for WSJ subscribers.
TradersExclusive.com, a newly launched website, provides trading information, free educational webinars, trading ideas and other resources for stock traders, option traders, futures traders and forex traders. Traders Exclusive is dedicated to providing trading news, education and actionable trading ideas. Among the site’s offerings is an options video shot from the floor of the CME and featuring top option traders and trading experts. Traders Exclusive also provides institutional trading information logged on a daily basis that shows what all the big firms are trading. The information comes directly from the CME trading floor and is available free to Traders Exclusive readers.
CQG, a market data and financial software provider, has launched Spreadsheet Trader to help traders better navigate and perform in increasingly fragmented markets. According to Thom Hartle, CQG’s director of product training, “Spreadsheet Trader builds on the global market visualization capabilities of CQG’s Portfolio Monitor by combining trade execution functionality with robust market visualization and analytical tools.” Spreadsheet Trader’s key features include market monitoring in a single spreadsheet view, direct trade execution and customization combined with functionality designed to streamline workflow. Contact the company for pricing information.
DeltaOne Solutions announced that it has launched 10-year historical index and exchange-traded funddata for subscribers, covering constituent history and pricing for indexes and ETFs. Historical index and ETF data includes official index value and constituent data and is retrievable in a variety of formats via a Web interface for download. For pricing information, contact the company.
ChartLabPro.com, a leading provider of quantitative investment management solutions for retail and institutional investors, has announced the integration of its Sector Exposure Diagnostics Solution into the ChartLabPro.com platform. This enhancement goes beyond showing an investor’s portfolio exposure on a sector level to identifying which sectors investors should increase or reduce exposure to based on ChartLabPro.com’s proprietary algorithm. In addition, it will identify specific stocks within a sector. Sector Exposure will also help members determine concentration risk to a specific sector and exposure to underperforming sectors. ChartLabPro costs $9.95 per month.